On December 8th and 9th of 2008, Jamaica had its first spay/neuter clinic in Kingston sponsored by the former Noah’s Ark Spay and Neuter Group, now called International Spay/Neuter Network, (ISNN), and the Jamaica Veterinary Medical Board. The clinic was held directly after the monthly veterinarian’s meeting. One of the highlights of the meeting was a presentation by Dr. Bruce Langlois, director of Remote Area Medical, located in Michigan, USA, of a quick spay technique.
Dr. Sarah Eytle of Phoenix Veterinary Clinic conducted the first of the two day spay/neuter clinics while Dr. Graham Brown of Animalcare Veterinary Hospital hosted the second day. There were approximately twenty veterinarians who participated in the training project. This very successful clinic saw seventy-six dogs sterilized along with two cats. In addition six puppies were vaccinated and dewormed as they weren’t old enough for sterilization. Four other dogs received additional medical care.
Stray dogs and cats weren’t the only recipients of special treatment. Two private schools in the Kingston area received story and coloring books, posters, and teacher’s planners to educate the schoolchildren in this humanitarian effort. In addition, nearly one hundred t-shirts were handed out during the stray dog population survey and the two days of the clinic.
One of the main goals of ISNN is to provide education to adults and children on the proper care and treatment of al animals. As more and more people learn these principles there will be less need for spay/neuter clinics, which also means fewer strays roaming the streets looking for food and being abused.
It was quite a task for the crews from the Jamaica Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals and the Animalcare Veterinary Hospital who physically went into the inner city communities to get the “volunteers” for the sterilization. Capturing and transporting the stray and wild dogs was a challenge as most of these dogs had never had physical contact with humans. Most required muzzling and eventually a calming agent to handle them. Veterinarian technicians and volunteers worked together to assess and give pre medication to the animals.
Can you imagine the trauma these animals must have gone through? One dog was so scared she made a quick exit from the van when everyone’s back was turned. She jumped over a gully and was found hiding in bushes on the other side. There were two dogs who were suffering from severe malnutrition. The female also had an infected tail which needed to be amputated. The male dog that received a month of boarding and treatment with three different antibiotics; one for infection prevention, one for the tick fever, and one for the venereal tumor; plus Ivermec, an anti-parasitic to treat mange and intestinal worms.
Another male dog who was brought in for neutering had multiple fractures of the femur bone. The first course of action was to attend to the broken bones. The damage was so severe it wasn’t known whether his leg could be saved or not. The decision was to wait to see how he would respond to emergency treatment before amputating his leg.
The next spay/neuter clinic is scheduled for February 26th, a few days after this article was submitted. If the second clinic was as successful as the first, this means ISNN, under the able leadership of Kimberley Swaim and the associated vets are starting to make significant headway in protecting abandoned and abused animals on the streets of Kingston.